TRAVERSE CITY, MI –returns to the domestic midsize-pickup truck market next year with a special emphasis on appealing to North American customers, says Dan Ammann, the auto maker’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.
He stops short of revealing how much the upcoming new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will share with new overseas versions of the trucks currently built in Thailand and Brazil.
“There are shared components,”Ammann tells journalists during a roundtable discussion at the Management Briefings Seminars here, where GM releases a teaser photo showing a portion of the trucks’ front grilles.
When pressed about the use of a global platform, he says: “What is your exact definition of a platform? The art of this is, how do you have maximum commonality, whether it is a truck or anything else, while at the same time delivering the requirements that different customers have in different markets?
“Having the same vehicle everywhere in the world is not the answer,” Ammann adds. “The goal is to satisfy customers in each marketplace while using as many common components, architectural elements and modules as possible.”
Needs of North American customers “are different than customers in Thailand, Australia or Brazil,” says Ammann, a New Zealand native. “We’ve come a long way from having disparate architectures and different approaches to having a much higher degree of commonality today.”
The North American models will be based on the South American versions built on the GMT355 platform, but they have a different program code. That presumably means more original engineering for the new models GM will sell in the U.S.
The strategy follows the auto maker’s global platform plan, where it uses a common architecture in multiple markets but fine tunes the engineering of each model to meet the specific consumer, regulatory and business demand of the particular region where they will be sold.
Ammann declines to say when in 2014 GM will debut the new midsize trucks.
GM stopped making the Colorado and Canyon for the U.S. early last year, however it still builds the Colorado in some overseas markets and recently introduced a redesigned version of the truck.
and have departed from the midsize-truck market in the U.S., although Ford still produces the Ranger overseas. But GM sees a reason to return here.
“This is a segment that used to be a big portion of the truck market,” Ammann says. “It has diminished over the years partly because there hasn’t been the kind of offering that customers were really looking for.
“We need to bring something to market that really redefines the segment, is a winning vehicle in every respect and offers a great value proposition. We see a market opportunity that isn’t being addressed.”
The auto maker is positioning the Colorado as a sport truck, while the Canyon “will live up to the GMC promise of professional grade,” Ammann says. “The trucks are fundamentally different propositions than what we have offered previously in this segment.”
GM will build the pair in Wentzville, MO. The previous models were produced in Shreveport, LA, which was divested among assets GM did not keep coming out of its 2009 bankruptcy.
The launch of the new fullsize Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra this year “is the beginning of the GM truck story for the next couple of years,” Ammann says.
In a conference presentation, he tells attendees GM plans to be more than just competitive in its pursuit of gaining and retaining customers. “Competitive doesn’t cut it anymore,” he says. “We must win in every segment.”
Another goal is offering vehicles “at a compelling value proposition to the customer while at the same time making sure we have a cost structure that allows us to make money,” he says. “But a compelling value proposition doesn’t mean lowest price.”